Indian telecom companies threaten to shut down internet services in Nepal over payment


Indian telecom companies threaten to shut down internet services in Nepal over payment

Kathmandu, March 26 (UNI) Indian telecommunications companies Tata and Airtel have sent letters to Nepalese internet service providers (ISPs), warning that internet bandwidth entering Nepal will be blocked as they have not received payment for five months. The situation apparently resulted from the failure of the Nepalese government to provide currency exchange services. The chairman of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN), Sudhir Parajuli, said: “The government has not provided currency recommendations. This is why our payment to upstream Indian suppliers has been delayed. “As a result, we are getting letters warning that companies will stop sending bandwidth to Nepal if we don’t pay soon.” He added: “If the government does not intervene, the situation could be worse.” As the Nepalese Ministry of Communications and Information Technology did not recommend payment in dollars to ISPs citing their arrears, Indian companies Tata and Airtel have not received their payments for five months. The payment amounting to Rs 500 million per month has been blocked, Nepali media reported. Nepalese ISPs buy international bandwidth from Indian companies Airtel and Tata. However, since the ministry did not recommend payment to companies in dollars, payment for bandwidth was stopped. Tata and Airtel wrote letters to Nepalese ISPs, warning them they would shut down bandwidth if payment was not made on time. However, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has maintained that it will not recommend payment in dollars until ISPs clear their arrears since 2018/19, as highlighted by the Office of the auditor general. Indian companies had sent the letter to Nepalese ISPs on February 9 with a 30-day ultimatum. They warned that the service could be terminated without notice after 30 days, which worries Nepalese ISPs. UNI RN

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